Not every car company was willing to immediately jump right onto the hybrid bandwagon when the technology first debuted on the consumer market in the late 1990s. There were a few reasons why some automakers hesitated to hastily bring their own battery-powered vehicles to showrooms. To begin with, gasoline / electric hybrids are expensive in more ways than one. The research and development required to develop a reliable and efficient electric drivetrain and control system not only takes years but also a significant dollar investment that some smaller companies were not willing to make. The vehicles themselves were and still are much more costly to build than their standard counterparts, largely due to the use of exotic materials during construction, as well as the requirement for more specialized labor and processes. These two factors, in combination with the uncertain buyer response to this unique class of vehicle held several automotive producers back from throwing their chips into the hybrid pot.
Nissan had another reason for being reluctant to take a gung-ho approach to hybrid vehicles. In the late 1990's, the company faced insolvency and were not in a position to direct money that was drastically needed for operations into exploring the possibilities of low-emissions technology. While the company was able to merge with Renault and ultimately save their brand, most of their energy over the next few years was directed towards restructuring their product lineup and establishing a new corporate identity.
Through all of this, Nissan remained aware of the fact that sooner or later they would need to come out with a homegrown hybrid solution in order to stay competitive. Knowing that it would take their engineering teams an extended period of time in order to come up with a workable solution, the company went ahead and partnered with Toyota in order to install the larger company's Hybrid Synergy Drive system in their mid-size Altima sedan.
The 2007 Altima Hybrid is an interesting choice for buyers interested in a used hybrid vehicle. Instead of the somewhat sedate performance of some of the other hybrid sedans on the market, the Altima caters to a crowd whose desire for confident acceleration is tempered by an obligation to save the planet. This article discusses the Altima Hybrid's drivetrain, its interior appointments and features, and the characteristics that make it stand out from the current crop of gasoline / electric vehicles currently on sale in the secondhand market.
2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid
When Nissan re-designed the Altima in 2007, they not only took the car to a more upscale buyer base but they also added a hybrid option. The Altima Hybrid fills out a section of carmaker's portfolio that had been noticeably lacking, especially in comparison to not only their domestic Japanese but also their North American competition.
The 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid stands on the shoulders of Toyota's extensive research and development in the world of gasoline / electric vehicles, as the company decided to license the technology from their competitor. This was done in order to bring a hybrid vehicle to market while Nissan continued to work on building their own proprietary hybrid system. The company has given the Altima Hybrid sedan a definite Nissan flavor, as it feels more responsive to throttle inputs than other gasoline / electrics on the market. The vehicle uses a 2.5 liter, 158 horsepower engine that combines with a 40 horsepower Toyota electric motor to provide just under 200 peak horsepower. The only transmission available is Nissan's excellent continuously-variable automatic, although the version in the Altima Hybrid lacks the manual mode commonly found in the company's CVT's. The vehicle sees 35 miles per gallon in city driving and 33 miles per gallon on the highway - numbers which are penalized slightly by the size of the car and performance-oriented tuning of the hybrid system.
Inside, the Altima Hybrid is roomy, although it does not come with the same level of upscale equipment as some Honda hybrid sedans. Dual climate control and electric air conditioning are standard equipment, as is traction control. However, if buyers really want to max out their vehicle's features, they can opt for the Hybrid Connection package, which ticks almost every box on the Altima options list.
The 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid is a used hybrid best suited for those who want to maintain some of the joys of driving while still saving money at the gas pump through good overall fuel economy.